1998 Bentley Continental T RSE

From the 1960s through the mid-1980s, Bentley had been quietly getting by, building cars exclusively on platforms shared with Rolls-Royce motorcars and losing much of its sporting identity in the process. That changed at the 1985 Geneva Motor Show when Bentley startled the establishment with its ‘Project 90’, an experimental coupe intended to gauge public response to the idea of a high-performance car unique to Bentley. When the production car, the Bentley Continental R, was finally revealed six years later, the public was enthralled. Styled with the assistance of consultants International Automotive Design, the Continental R utilized new computer-aided design and wind tunnel testing to create its sleekly streamlined shape. Also new was the transmission, a four-speed automatic with an overdrive top gear ratio, but most exciting was the new car’s brilliant performance. The stellar combination of the Turbo R’s 6.75-litre V8 engine and the new aerodynamic shape cut the 0-60mph time to 6.2 seconds and boosted the top speed to over 150mph.

There was even more to come in the form of the Continental T. Introduced in June 1996, the T was a short-wheelbase version of the Continental R with some 4” being taken out of the chassis beyond the doors. With 400bhp at its disposal and crouching aggressively on 18” wheels, the low-slung Continental T looks every inch the thoroughbred Bentley sports car. Despite its hefty weight, the luxuriously appointed Continental T is certainly no slouch, racing to 60mph in a blistering 5.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 156mph.

If owning one of the most exclusive cars on the earth wasn’t enough, you could purchase an even more exclusive version. The car offered here is one of a mere 14 North American Regional Special Edition (RSE) Continental Ts produced, making it one of the rarest of the breed. The cost of this option was a staggering $25,000 in 1998 (the equivalent of about $47,000 today). The RSE models are distinguished by such features as chrome 18-inch rims, stainless steel headlight surrounds, body-colored bumper undertrays and finishing strips, sporting seats with Alcantara inserts, body-colored shifter lever, chrome-ringed instrument bezels, and more. Additionally, this example is fitted with the powerful Mulliner-spec engine adding an extra 20 horsepower and 60 lb-ft of torque for an impressive total of 420 horsepower and 650 lb-ft, respectively. All this is ample power to move this opulent and near-silent luxury coupe from Zürich to Paris in a very short time if necessary.

This car is finished in a stunning shade of Crimson Pearl over an elegant blend of buttery Soft Tan hides and Alcantara with leather dash accents and Crimson carpets. Highly optioned, this car was first sold through Rolls-Royce of Beverly Hills, who delivered the car new to famed Hollywood actor Will Smith. He retained the car for nearly fifteen years, an unusually long time to keep an automobile by celebrity standards. Mr. Smith clearly enjoyed owning this Bentley, and it showed in the extensive and consistent service records. Subsequent owners continued what Mr. Smith started; the most recent owner has been equally fastidious about its care. Currently showing 73,000 miles on the odometer, it could pass for a car with only 15,000 miles due to the extraordinary care this rare Bentley has enjoyed by each of its stewards.

Beautifully presented, the paint and detailing are superb. The car wears its correct original chrome-finish wheels shod with high-performance Pirelli rubber. The leather remains supple and shows minimal wear, while the original carpets are superb, protected by matching crimson Mouton over mats. Woodwork and chrome are equally excellent, and the car features a discreetly updated audio system with a hidden JL Audio subwoofer in the boot as well as front and rear cameras. This Continental T includes a complete ownership history, a copy of the original title in Will Smith’s name, spare keys, clean CarFax, books, service records, and detailed factory build records. It is an absolute blast to drive, with boundless reserves of torque and impressive handling considering its size.

This exceptional Bentley presents a rare opportunity to acquire one of the most desirable models of the era that Bentley created. This fact, combined with a plethora of rare factory options, interesting ownership history, excellent maintenance, and superb overall condition, checks all boxes for the astute Bentley connoisseur.


Offers welcome and trades considered 



Stock number 7523

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